Even though most Americans have pitched horseshoes at some point in their life, most kids (and parents) are surprised to learn that Horseshoes is also an organized sport. Once they do, they are pleased to also learn it is one of the most affordable, fun, simple yet challenging, healthful, and engaging lifelong competitive sports. Your key to attracting youth is taking the most productive steps to access potential participants and their parents, and then sharing how they can benefit from participating in a youth league or tournament.
Top Ways to Promote
1- Family. The quickest and simplest place to find kids is among current horseshoe pitcher families. Not only is Horseshoes a lifelong sport, it is also a family sport and promotes higher levels of family satisfaction. If their is a horseshoe pitching organization in your area, the kids and grand-kids of that group should be your first target. They are already familiar, if not experienced with the sport. Give youth league information fliers/registration forms to the adults to take home to their kids and to share with others they may come in contact with.
2- Friends. If their are already some youth in your area pitching horseshoes, give them youth league invitations to share with their friends. As a highly social sport kids will have more fun and fulfilment if some of their friends are also participating. Be sure the kids share a social media announcement about the league with their friends online.
3- Schools. Ask your local schools if the youth league can be added to a send-home flier about sport activities in your area. You may be able to provide a full flier to the school that can be sent home with kids as well. Many high schools can use Horseshoes as part of their “Lifetime” sports curriculum. Provide teachers of this class with promotional information about your youth league to pass out to their students (you may be allowed to personally present to the class). If there is a homeschool group in your area, you may find that they are very interested and supportive.
4- Community. Most cities and towns have bulletin boards, social media pages, mailing and/or email lists, with the purpose of providing notice to community members about community events. They should be very accommodating in publicizing your youth league. Additionally, some communities provide after school and 4-H clubs and for youth and are regularly looking for opportunities for their participants.
5- Churchs. Some church groups are already pitching horseshoes, many others are always on the lookout for wholesome activities for their youth. Ask the church leadership if they would allow you to tell their youth about your league, and/or provide informational fliers.
6- Doctors. Because horseshoes provides safe, moderate, non-impact exercise it is perfect for kids who may have become sedentary who need to put down the video games, get off the couch, and start getting more active. Family Doctors and Pediatricians who understand the immense benefit organized horseshoes can provide will be very supportive and can recommend joining a youth horseshoe league to their patients as a means to improve health. They may also allow you to leave fliers or a poster at their office (don’t forget to ask of sponsorships).
7- Businesses. Some business have public bulletin boards where you can post a flier about your league, or they may allow you to leave a stack of fliers at a checkout counter or other heavy traffic areas in their business (don’t forget to ask of sponsorships).
8- Online. You can create an online presence to attract potential participants. Social media outlets such as Facebook may help spread the word about your league over the internet. A website or page that provides general information including registration is highly recommended.
9- Newspapers/Radio/TV. Depending on the traditional media market in an area, one of each of these outlets may allow you to provide information to your community for free, or for a small charge (don’t forget to ask of sponsorships).
In all cases, be sure to provide a point of contact so parents and youth can quickly get more information (remember, for many, a horseshoe league is a new idea, they’re bound to have questions).
Promoting to Parents
If kids are going to participate, it will only be with the support of their parents. In your information (fliers, website, media, etc.) you will need to be sure to promote to parents the many positive values a horseshoe youth league can provide.
- • Self-esteem and confidence builder
- • Inexpensive equipment
- • Learn a new lifelong skill
- • Moderate outdoor exercise
- • Gets kids “unplugged” from electronics
- • Fun, positive/supportive environment
- • Wholesome competitive sport
- • Hands-on learning
- • See improvement with effort
- • Learn to deal with victory and loss (Sportsmanship)
- • Obtain recognition for successes
- • Improve hand-eye muscle-mind coordination
- • “Real” social interaction
- • Parents can play the sport with their family
- • Friendship
- • Short season limits conflict with other family activities